Five years ago, Raphael Magarik said what many people who care about distributive justice in America know – systemic welfare abuse rages among the country’s growing ultraorthodox sects. This is money that should go to the actually needy. It’s being stolen.

Strangely, as Magarik notes, the practice is as flagrant as it is widespread. Larger and larger communities of people not entitled to welfare benefits work the system and take them anyway and suffer no consequences. How is this possible?


You see how it happens when (very) occasional law enforcement action comes down, as it has in the last week in Lakewood, New Jersey. The first person arrested for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars that should have gone to, for instance, struggling public schools was the community’s rabbi. Its spiritual leader.

Not only have the authorities known for ages about these criminal conspiracies; they actually met with the community a couple of years ago and suggested they knock it off.

Why did Prosecutor Warn Lakewood about Avoiding Welfare Fraud?

asks a recent local headline. The article quotes local citizens wondering why an entire community got a helpful suggestion from the police rather than the sweeping arrests it’s getting now. All the money lost over those years might not have been lost had police “just admitted there’s widespread fraud” and arrested people for it.

How Did Massive NJ Welfare Fraud Scheme Work?

Another headline.

Answer? Just by doing it.

The paper trail shows the relative ease the families had in allegedly defrauding the government. In one case, authorities say a woman was able to withdraw $1.5 million from a company and deposit the money into her personal bank account while still collecting public assistance.

You just do it. The authorities know what you’re doing and they do nothing. They call a town meeting. Years later they arrest a bunch of people and the sect agrees to try not to do it anymore.

Hundreds of people have called local officials, inquiring if there would be amnesty for those who admit lying about their incomes, and the APP reported that Ocean County authorities have been swamped with calls from public assistance beneficiaries seeking to stop receiving benefits.

Then, since it’s “a lifestyle,” they do it again.


So nu. Israel is increasingly a religious state and it can’t do much about its own humongous haredi mess: Close to a million unemployed or underemployed people, many of whom deny the legitimacy of the state and make sure their children continue the unemployability tradition by refusing to follow the mandated national curriculum.

America is another matter. UD is baffled as to why our own fiscal and legal institutions, fully aware of the situation, do little or nothing.

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2 Responses to “‘Off the record, New York City officials admit that Williamsburg’s Hasidim “work the system,” and experts who don’t have to be reelected come out and just admit there’s widespread fraud… [T]he Haredi birthrate, to be sustainable, requires large and consistent infusions of cash from outside. In Williamsburg, welfare really is a lifestyle.’”

  1. dmf Says:

  2. University Diaries » UD Reads Opinion Pieces Defending Indefensible Ways of Life so that you don’t have to. Says:

    […] like shit, but ladeedah… there but for the grace of god full stop. You’re vaguely aware welfare fraud rages and yeah ok their schools are a national disgrace but meh. The world is full of problems. Viewed […]

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